I have a habit of getting ingredient obsessed. The seasonal availability of produce or a glut from the garden always seems to influence this. I seem to make a million berry recipes when you can get punnets for proverbial pennies and then slurp some pumpkin soup every other night in winter. Other times however I keep using the same ingredient because I want to master a learning curve quickly.
Coconut flour has been the new wild card in my pantry lately. Rich in fibre and protein, it contains lauric acid and other healthy saturated fats that withstand high baking temperatures. It’s also behaves very differently to other flours. It’s super absorbent, you can substitute about 1/4 cup of it for a cup of wheat flour and it requires a gazillion eggs for binding or baked goods crumble apart. The thought of converting recipes with it initially made me very confused!
Experimentation is what it’s all about and I’ve spent the past few weeks being quite obsessed with working out how it all works. After a 500g bag of coconut flour (a lot when you consider how little you use each recipe)I think I’m starting to get a handle on this nifty grain-free flour. Rich, sweet and moist, this Grain-free Humminbird Slice is great to bake as a slice cake as a small piece really satisfies.
Five Tips for Baking with Coconut Flour
- When converting a standard recipe to all coconut flour, use 1/4 cup coconut flour for 1 cup of normal flour. Add 1/4 liquid ingredients to increase moisture. Coconut flour is also a great additive to your gluten-free or wheat flour recipes, it’s very trial and error but I love this website and their books for inspiration.
- You will need around 6 eggs per 1 cup of coconut flour used. Eggs primarily work to take the place of gluten in coconut flour recipes and help to build texture.
(I will keep you posted on future experiments with psyllium, chia or flax eggs. I’m still testing!)
- Coconut flour is very, very thirsty. You can also add pureed/mashed fruit or vegies to the batter to further increase the moisture and prevent crumbling of baked goods.
- Don’t panic if the batter seems too runny, when cooked the batter will firm up so avoid the urge to thicken the batter by adding more flour. Doing this would produce a dry and crumbly product. If it comes out too moist, at least you’ve got a deliciously ruined experiment to eat!
- All brands of coconut flour behave slightly differently, my Niulife flour was much more thirsty that my Bob’s Red Mill, and the resulting products from them quite differing textures. I don’t have all the answers as to which is better, all I can suggest is find your favourite through trial and error.
- ⅓ cup coconut flour
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ cup coconut sugar
- ⅓ cup dessicated coconut
- 500g chopped and gently mashed pineapple (or 1 450g can crushed pineapple if not in season)
- 2 large overripe bananas, mashed
- 3 eggs, beaten
- ½ cup coconut (or grapeseed) oil
- 1 tsp finely grated orange rind
- Preheat oven to 180C. Line a 16 x 26cm (6″ by 10″) slice pan or brownie pan with baking paper, extending paper over sides as handles.
- Pour prepared or canned pineapple into a sieve and allow to drain, discard liquid and then set pineapple aside.
- Sift coconut flour and cinnamon into a large bowl and then stir in sugar and dessicated coconut.
- Add reserved pineapple, mashed banana, eggs, coconut oil and zest and mix until well combined.
- Spread batter into prepared pan, Bake for 45 minutes or until skewer inserted at centre comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes in pan and then gently lift onto wire rack to cool completely before icing.
- 1 cup coconut butter (not oil)
- ¼ cup agave nectar or sugar
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ¼ cup shredded coconut
- To make icing beat all ingredients except shredded coconut until creamy and well combined. Refrigerate for 10min, then beat again until creamy. Spread over slice, scatter shredded coconut on top and refrigerate before serving.